adjective me·tic·u·lous \mə-ˈti-kyə-ləs\

Definition of meticulous

  1. :  marked by extreme or excessive care in the consideration or treatment of details a meticulous researcher


play \-ˌti-kyə-ˈlä-sə-tē\ noun


play \-ˈti-kyə-ləs-lē\ adverb


play \-nəs\ noun

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Examples of meticulous in a sentence

  1. Always meticulous about his appearance in the past, he had become dirty and unkempt, with straggly hair, stained clothes, and patches of silver stubble on his chin. —Minette Walters, Fox Evil, 2002

  2. She was very much the craftswoman, all her work meticulous, slow, perfect. —Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman, 1998

  3. In dense, meticulous arguments … Brooten mounts an assault on that view. —Cullen Murphy, Atlantic, August 1993

  4. He described the scene in meticulous detail.

  5. He is meticulous about keeping accurate records.

Did You Know?

It may surprise you to learn that meticulous is derived from the Latin word for "fearful" - meticulosus - and ultimately comes from the Latin noun metus, meaning "fear." Although meticulous currently has no "fearful" meanings, it was originally used as a synonym of frightened and timid. This sense had fallen into disuse by 1700, and in the 19th century meticulous acquired a new sense of "overly and timidly careful" (probably influenced by the French word méticuleux). This in turn led to the current meaning of "painstakingly careful," with no connotations of fear at all. The newest use was controversial among some usage commentators at first, but it has since become by far the most common meaning and is no longer considered an error.

Origin and Etymology of meticulous

Latin meticulosus fearful, irregular from metus fear

First Known Use: 1827

Synonym Discussion of meticulous

careful, meticulous, scrupulous, punctilious mean showing close attention to detail. careful implies attentiveness and cautiousness in avoiding mistakes. a careful worker meticulous may imply either commendable extreme carefulness or a hampering finicky caution over small points. meticulous scholarship scrupulous applies to what is proper or fitting or ethical. scrupulous honesty punctilious implies minute, even excessive attention to fine points. punctilious observance of ritual

METICULOUS Defined for English Language Learners


adjective me·tic·u·lous \mə-ˈti-kyə-ləs\

Definition of meticulous for English Language Learners

  • : very careful about doing something in an extremely accurate and exact way

METICULOUS Defined for Kids


adjective me·tic·u·lous \mə-ˈtik-yə-ləs\

Definition of meticulous for Students

  1. :  showing extreme or excessive care in thinking about or dealing with small details a meticulous description

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up meticulous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


feeling or affected by lethargy

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